Ikeys in SA U20 mix
The 30-man squad faces two matches against the Argentina Under-20s, as well as against an Argentina XV, as part of its preparations for the IRB Junior World Championship which takes place in Italy in June.
The national selectors have also rewarded FNB UCT lock Eben Etzebeth (pictured), flanker Nizaam Carr and scrumhalf Ricky Schroeder following their performances during the first couple of rounds in the 2011 Varsity Cup.
UCT players that were not considered due to their involvement with Super Rugby and Springbok Sevens commitments are hooker Bonga Ntubeni and flanker Siya Kolisi (Stormers), Both Ntubeni and Kolisi have been busy training with the Stormers, which is why they have not featured for the Ikeys this year.
“Our scheduled pool opponents at the Junior World Championships – England, Scotland and Ireland – are competing in the Six Nations U20 Championship and will be well prepared,” said SA Under-20 coach Dawie Theron.
“We want to ensure that the core of our players have experience in competing against international opposition,” he added. “This tour will be a fantastic opportunity for the players to experience the standard of playing international opposition in different conditions to those they are used to.
“It’ll also be an opportunity to test certain playing combinations. This will be a great chance to see how our guys front up to the challenge that will be posed by the Argentineans.”
The South African Under-20 squad includes five players who were not part of the first camp of the year, because of other playing commitments or have impressed in pre-season matches.
“This squad comprises of individuals who are currently competing in the Varsity Cup, as well players who competed in Vodacom Cup warm-up friendlies for their provinces,” explained Theron.
“We also have quite a number of players who were part of their union’s Super Rugby preparations that will now be joining the squad.”
The SA U20 touring squad will assemble in Johannesburg on Thursday, March 10 in preparation for their departure to Buenos Aires on Sunday, March 13.
SA Under-20 tour fixtures:
Wednesday, March 16: v Argentina XV
Saturday, March 19: v Argentina U20s (first international)
Thursday, March 24: v Argentina U20s (second international)
The SA Under-20 squad:
Fullbacks: Ulrich Beyers (Blue Bulls), Riaan Britz (Free State)
Wings: Wandile Mjekevu (Lions), Emil Schwarz (Sharks), Courtnall Skosan (Blue Bulls), Sizo Maseko (Western Province)
Centres: Francois Venter, Bradley Moolman (Blue Bulls), Micheal van der Spuy (Western Province)
Flyhalves: Johan Goosen (Free State), John Welthagen (Leopards), Tony Jantjies (Blue Bulls)
Scrumhalves: Ricky Schroeder (Western Province), Kevin Luiters (Free State)
Loose forwards: Nizaam Carr (Western Province), Marcel Coetzee and Francois Kleinhans (Sharks), Cornell du Preez (Leopards), Arno Botha (Blue Bulls), Jean Cook (Free State)
Locks: Eben Etzebeth (Western Province), Carl Wegner (Free State), Jose Julies (Blue Bulls), Wilhelm van der Sluys (Western Province)
Hookers: Bongi Mbonambi (Blue Bulls), Micheal van Vuuren (Eastern Province)
Props: Juan Schoeman (Blue Bulls), Jon Roy Jenkins (Platinum Leopards), Nicholas Schonnet (Sharks), Stephan Kotze (Free State)
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